Comeback Falls Short for Belles Against Scots
- Gabby Diamond led Saint Mary's with 14 points.
- Erin Maloney picked up her 100th career steal and chipped in 10 points with six rebounds.
- Kelsey Ronan tallied nine points, and Ally Steve posted a season-high and game-high nine rebounds.
ALMA, Mich. - A tough first quarter was too much to overcome as the Saint Mary's basketball team fell 62-50 at Alma on Wednesday night.
Neither team had much luck getting their offense to produce points through the opening four minutes of action as the Scots held a 4-2 lead as Gabby Diamond put the first points on the scoreboard for the Belles. After an Alma three-pointer made it 7-2, Kelsey Ronan put down a jump shot to push the score to 7-4 with over five and a half minutes remaining in the period. Alma responded with an 11-0 run over the next 3:16 of play for an 18-4 advantage. Ally Steve broke up the Belles' scoring drought with a jumper in the final minute, but a late free throw by the Scots made it a 19-6 game through the first quarter.
As the game progressed, the Belles got stronger at both ends of the floor as Saint Mary's tightened up on the defensive end and put up more points on the offensive side of the hardwood. Despite allowing one less point (18) in the quarter while scoring more than the opening stanza, the Belles trailed the Scots at the halftime break by a 37-17 score.
The Belles came out of the halftime break with strong defense but continued to have trouble getting shots to fall. Alma put the opening two points of the quarter on the scoreboard. Saint Mary's, however, responded with an 8-4 spurt to gain some momentum. Erin Maloney put six of those eight points up for the Belles while Delaney Rohlman added a second-chance layup to make it a 43-25 game with 3:39 on the clock in the quarter. Gabby Diamond added a pair of free throws a minute and a half later to give the Belles a 10-8 scoring advantage in the stanza. The Scots, however, used a pair of late layups to hold a 49-27 lead going into the final period.
The Belles were on a mission in the fourth quarter as Saint Mary's kept Alma scoreless for the opening 3:21 of the fourth quarter while working hard to generate a comeback. The Belles outscored the Scots 10-3 over the first five minutes of the final quarter to cut the deficit to 52-37. With 3:52 still remaining, the Belles again edged within 15 points of the Scots after Ally Steve drained both free throws to make it a 55-40 score. A spin-move layup by Ronan and a layup by Maloney on the Belles' next two possessions cut the deficit to 55-44 with 2:34 on the clock as the Scots called a timeout. Ally Steve blocked a three-pointer on Alma's next possession to force a shot clock violation, and Erin Maloney hit a baseline jumper to make it a 55-46 game with two minutes to go. With the shot clock winding down at the other end, the Scots got the bounce off the rim on a jumper to extend their advantage back to double digits at 57-46. Neither team could get a shot to fall over the next minute of play until Kelsey Ronan hit a jump shot with 35 seconds left on the clock. The comeback effort for Saint Mary's, however, ran out of time as Alma held on for the 62-50 final decision.
The Belles held a 45-37 edge in rebounds on the night and were +7 on second-chance points. Both teams scored 16 points off of turnovers while committing 21 giveaways. The Scots hit four more three-pointers than Saint Mary's while the Belles had 17 two-point buckets to Alma's 15.
Gabby Diamond led Saint Mary's with 14 points. Erin Maloney picked up her 100th career steal and chipped in 10 points with six rebounds. Kelsey Ronan tallied nine points, and Ally Steve posted a season-high and game-high nine rebounds.
The Belles (2-20, 1-13 MIAA) return home to host Rochester (Mich.) for a non-conference contest on Saturday starting at 3:00 p.m.